Caroline Claeys-Desbans and Marysia Lewandowska; Paris; 5/7/86

Caroline Claeys-Desbans worked for the French branch of Amnesty International between 1977 and 1982, mostly for their PR and press, followed by four and a half years with Editions Decouvertes, an independent left-wing press based in Paris which aimed to give a voice to disenfranchised peoples. She was due to leave that post two days after this conversation was recorded, and was contemplating her move to publishing.

Here she traces the progression of her career and interests, from time spent in the United States in the early 1970s, learning English in the aftermath of the Vietnam War and gathering strength from the Women's Movement. She speaks about her decision to get involved in Amnesty International, and its growth following the award of a Nobel Peace Prize in 1977, triggering a rise in press coverage.

She gives an insight into the attitudes and motivations of people involved with Amnesty, the nature of tolerance and the need for attention to individual human experience within a nation's overall image or identity. Finally she contemplates what makes writing worth publishing, and why she didn't anticipate publishing any work of her own.


Accession No. WAA.006
Artist: Caroline Claeys-Desbans and Marysia Lewandowska
Container annotation:
Place/Year: Paris 5/7/86
Type: Private Conversation
Technical aspects: Very clear sound despite some mic tapping. Stereo.
Duration: 90'
Tape capacity: 90
Tape brand: TDK